choices to be made: Kindle 3 or Nook Color?

I’ll come right out the gate with what you want to know: i decided on a Nook Color.

I’m sure my friend @Pat_B_Sure is saying, “Ha! I told you so” right about now, but that’s only because he thinks he’s won the war in our Nook vs Kindle disputes. Well, in a way, sure; but ultimately, i’ve won. The consumer is always right! (Pat works for Barnes & Noble, by the way.)

After chiding (jokingly) the original Nook for its slow book-loading and page-turning, especially when compared to the Kindle, something happened: the Nook Color was released.

While at the mall, i toyed with it for about 10-15 minutes and even in this short timeframe i was able to do a few things: i became accustomed to the surprising weight of the device (it’s slightly heavier than i imagined, but still less than the Kindle DX); i lurked around the menus, checking every twist, turn and corner to see where they lead me, which wasn’t too tricky or unintuitive; and i asked the sales rep some questions regarding battery life, storage space and WiFi, to which all received satisfactory answers.

I’m sure i could have Googled reviews and specs, but i truly wasn’t too interested in the device before i happened to walk into B. Dalton (B&N subsidiary). I was salivating over the Kindle 3; and for good reasons.

NY Times: Kindle version

For one, the price ($139) was almost perfect; if it had dropped to $99 on Black Friday, this post would be a lot different, i’m sure of it lol. Two, Amazon’s seamless One-Click purchasing and deliverance to all of my Kindle App-holding devices—several computers between home and work and a BlackBerry. And lastly, the naive belief that i didn’t want color or touch in my e-reading device, that i was going to solely read books or i’d be content with reading color magazines in black and white (the chutzpah!).

Speaking of magazines, the Nook Color’s inclusion of the latter two didn’t entirely woo me, however. A week or so before i was able to try out the Color, i had a reversal of desire—all of a sudden the iPad was appealing. And not for any superficial, material reason, but for a business and scholarly one. I revisited a very-long-in-the-tooth desire to start and publish my own magazine or journal. Being that the iPad is one wave of the publishing future, i believed the iPad would help with that dream. So, with the arrival of the Nook Color, i was able (or hoping) to transfer that dream to its touchscreen cousin.

Highlighting Example of the Nook Color

After our introduction, all i could think about was the Nook Color. I even Tweeted about it. I scoured the web for all things Nook Color, from positive reviews to disappointing warnings, and protective cases to software on par with Amazon’s offering. I was looking for things to deter me from buying the Kindle 3. I immediately downloaded the Nook app for my BlackBerry, Macbook and PC. I wanted to see if the software allowed me to create a similar setup i had with Amazon’s Kindle apps, most importantly, the ability to sync reading locations between all devices. It did; but in some ways i was disappointed and in some ways i was elated.

One such elation wasn’t with the Nook ebook app, but with it’s sister software, NookStudy. It’s pretty snazzy even after nascent tests. I’m writing a more in-depth review soon, but i will say that it’s already a solid, yet could be improved application for students, professors or avid readers, alike. I’m excited over it’s potential—very excited.

NookStudy Highlighting in a Textbook

A disappointment with Barnes & Noble is their Nookbook bookstore: it’s all right, nothing spectacular. The breadth of titles isn’t as robust as Amazon’s, but the pricing of ebooks is similar.

Another discouraging facet of the B&N eReader is that not all the ebooks work on all devices. Several titles, both full books and samples, aren’t “available” on the BlackBerry version of the app, but work on the Mac or PC. It’s ridiculous. The books are only comprised of text and formatting (XML). Not like i’m trying to view magazines on the BlackBerry. I’ve yet to run into “unavailable” books with Amazon’s Kindle apps for any device (including the Android which I used months ago when i had a G1).

On a good note, from cursory tests, the formatting of B&N versions of the same ebook is more polished than that of Amazon’s offering. I tested out free, public domain titles, probably a dozen or so.

A blackeye for Amazon is a knockout for me: the ability to export notes and bookmarks. B&N’s eReader app and NookStudy allow you to export your notes and bookmarks; Amazon’s Kindle app, does not, and only allows for syncing across devices. Get your act together, Amazon. Yesterday.

I have yet to purchase any of the ebook devices because of price, mainly. If the Kindle 3 had color, i’d scoop it up at the $139 price point. And, if the Nook Color was $199 instead of $249, i’d buy it tomorrow. From what i’m hearing, because of strong sales, the Color will not drop price any time soon, unfortunately.

So, for now, i am content with using the free software available to read and annotate titles on the MacBook and BlackBerry (well, i can only bookmark, no highlighting or notes on the BB). I don’t feel, with my lack of disposable income, the $249 is right to get a Nook Color, especially since i would then have to purchase a $30 protective case/sleeve, easily pushing the total cost to $300 with tax, which would be better spent on an Android-based tablet for around the same price. But that’s for another post.

Soon, though, soon the Nook Color will be mine.